COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — When Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Ryan spoke out against President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan this week, it marked a break from his past statements on the issue and some of his votes.
The move to go against a same-party chairman comes as Ryan tries to turn his credentials in Ohio’s working-class Mahoning Valley into the support he needs from Republicans and independents. to defeat Republican JD Vance this fall. closely watched race for the US Senate.
Ryan joined Republicans and a handful of fellow Democrats on Wednesday in criticizing the president executive order to erase federal student loan debt for some borrowers as unnecessary for some people and unfair for others. The plan cancels $10,000 of federal student loan debt for those with incomes below $125,000 a year, or households earning less than $250,000, and cancels an additional $10,000 for those who received grants federal Pell to attend college.
“As someone who is paying off my own family’s student loans, I know the costs of higher education are too high,” Ryan said in a statement released by his campaign. “And while there’s no question that a college education should be about opening up opportunity, debt forgiveness for those already on the path to financial security sends the wrong message to the millions of college-educated Ohioans. who work just as hard to make ends meet.”
Instead of foregoing loans “for six-figure earners,” Ryan said, the government should pursue more broadly beneficial policies, including widespread tax cuts for working-class and middle-class families, l cancellation of medical debt and a targeted rebate for essential workers. For student borrowers, he said he supports additional loan refinancing opportunities, investments in learning and development, and universal community college and workforce training “so that all Americans – not just university graduates – have a chance to succeed”.
But only a few years ago, Ryan came out in favor of reducing his student debt.
“Student debt is out of control,” he tweeted in October 2018. “If we can bail out the banks that did everything wrong, we can help the students that did everything right.”
Earlier that year, Ryan called on Congress to “do more to help reduce this debt and make college more affordable,” lamenting that “44 million Americans owe a total of $1.5 trillion in student debt, which prevents them from investing in their communities, our economy and their future.
And Ryan supported those positions with votes.
He voted yes to the HEROES Act in May 2020, which planned to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for some 20 million “economically distressed” borrowers. In July, Ryan also supported an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that required the federal government to provide $10,000 in immediate relief to about 4.5 million private student loan holders.
Ryan’s campaign spokesperson Izzi Levy said his stance on the Biden loan cancellation plan was not a flip-flop.
“Tim thinks using executive action to wipe out six-figure wage earner debt is going too far without actually addressing the skyrocketing higher education costs that have caused this crisis,” he said. she said in a statement. “Meanwhile, inflation remains high for all Ohioans, regardless of education. Tim supports more targeted aid, as well as a host of proposals to contain education costs initial, and believes the administration would have been better served by prioritizing comprehensive economic relief that benefits all working- and middle-class Ohios, whether or not they attended college.
The Vance backed by Donald Trumpan author and venture capitalist, is also reaching out for Democratic and independent votes in a contest meant to test the the recent right shift of the state of the old indicator.
Vance described Biden’s plan as “a $300 billion gift to college graduates — paid for by single mothers in the form of higher food prices, by commercial workers in the form of higher taxes, and by the next generation of students in the form of higher tuition fees.”
He, too, noted that some recipients of loan forgiveness under Biden’s plan have “six-figure incomes.” He said forcing universities like Harvard and Yale to liquidate their multibillion-dollar endowments would be a better way to reduce student debt without “accelerating inflation.” Vance graduated from Yale Law School.
“Instead of holding administrators accountable for skyrocketing tuition fees, bloated bureaucratic budgets and growing armies of ‘diversity’ consultants, Joe Biden decided to bail out the group of people least in need – people with six-figure incomes and the couples earning nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year,” its statement read.
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